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Smith: College honorary degree recipient raises eyebrows

For those who thought the Gordon Campbell Order of B.C. backlash was appropriate, wait till you hear who is the next Okanagan College honorary degree recipient.

This fall, in addition to a rather long overdue honour for alumni Olympic poet Shane Koyczan, the little college that could has decided to take their bid for dollars to the highest authority and give a sitting politician an honorary degree.

George Abbott—Education Minister no less—will be given one of the more significant honours a university or college can bestow while still holding a minister’s position.

Obviously, the political science instructors missed impressing on college administrators that influence peddling is not considered a virtue in a democracy—though perhaps they leave that lesson to the students’ years at UBCO.

Now, in fairness, the university has garnered significant attention since the split, in part for their decision to divide the resources roughly 50/50—half to doing, half to telling others about it.

Today, for example, they’re going to be making their annual most important announcement ever to a sea of blockbuster announcement-weary reporters. OK, that’s an exaggeration. The exact wording was: “An announcement will be made about one of the most important public initiatives the campus has ever undertaken.”

In all likelihood, we’re all traipsing out there to hear about a new form of recycling.

The college, meanwhile, may fall short on the marketing prowess their funky 007 bullet hole logo suggests, but they certainly have kept step with UBCO on the funding train.

Just like their cousin at the other end of the city, this institution has a campus perpetually overturned by bulldozers as it grows and grows and grows.

They even have a building built around a growing theme. Their new Centre of Excellence in Penticton is one of those architectural wonders targeting the Living Building designation, and considered among the most environmentally friendly, socially and culturally appealing built environments in the world. Designed with regenerative systems akin to the ecological perfection of a flower, it has virtually no ecological footprint.

And here in Kelowna, OC has opened the Centre for Learning with a small wooden dialogue pod suspended over a large open-concept atrium. Truth be told, if most of the students were to see the hovels they’ll be squeezing out a living in for the first few years of their career, it might be too jarring for them to graduate. Over-praise and over-coddling are already the motivation bane of this generation’s success.

None to worried on that front though, B.C. Premier Christy Clark is pouring plenty of money into shipping and natural gas production in the north where the climate conscious preppies bathing in the lap of student luxury here in the Okanagan will no doubt be super psyched to pack their retro duffle and head to. I know I personally thought the information age would find me wielding crates in Kitimat. Didn’t you?

Ah well, if she botches her economic plan, someone will just come up with an award to curry favour for their industry and we’ll all turn on the morning newscasts to reports of the biggest nut farm ever opened in B.C.

And the rest of Canada says B.C. politics are corrupt. What’s that about?

 

jsmith@kelownacapnews.com

 

 

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